About a month ago I got an Aerogarden. I had been looking at them for a long time and Ed finally convinced me to get one when we saw it for more than half off at Sams Club. I started off growing mint, parsley, oregano, thyme, chives, and two types of basil. Well it turns out that the basil grows very abundantly. We have already had to cut it down at least 3 times. Each time I added the cuttings to a glass of water over the sink, determined not to waste them. This weekend Ed took me to Williams Sonoma to have me help pick out my Mother’s Day present. While I was wandering around I came across a Le Creuset french oven that was limited quantity, in fact there were only two left, at a great price. It was a 3 1/2 quart wide round oven. A lot of people might say that this oven is too small to do much of anything with but to me it just screamed risotto. The pans I have been using to make risotto are about 2 1/2 quart and that is just big enough and I have always wanted one with a larger bottom to saute the rice better. This oven would fit the bill perfectly! After thinking it over overnight we went back the next day and got it, Yay!!!! Anyways….the combination of this new “risotto” pan and the basil sitting on my windowsill gave me an idea. I decided that I would like to try and make a Caprese Risotto. I like both components individually so why not try them combined? When I went to make it tonight I decided to only use a cup of arborio instead of a cup and a half like usual because we always end up with so much leftover. Ed didn’t disagree and as he later admitted it was because he didn’t really believe that this would turn out well and he is usually the one that eats the leftovers. He admitted this to me as he was lamenting the fact that he didn’t tell me to go ahead and make the full amount because this turned out very good. In fact I couldn’t get him to come up with anything that should have been changed. From my opinion the risotto was very rich thanks to the chicken broth and trying vegetable broth might lighten it just a bit. I may or may not try that next time as this is a keeper just the way it is.
(I couldn’t get the sticker off. Oops.)
Caprese Risotto by Me
1 cup arborio rice
40oz chicken broth – you could substitute vegetable broth to make it vegetarian
1 1/2 tbsps olive oil
1/3 cup white wine – I used a riesling
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 roma tomatoes seeded and chopped
10 basil leaves julienned and cut in half
5 basil leaves torn in quarters
Heat chicken broth in medium sauce pan and keep warm throughout cooking.
Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the torn basil leaves and saute for approx. 3 mins allowing the basil flavor to infuse into the olive oil. Remove basil pieces and discard. Add arborio rice and saute for a few minutes until rice becomes opaque. Add white wine and cook until absorbed. Start to add chicken broth to the rice in approx. 1/2 cup increments. Stir almost constantly while allowing each batch of chicken stock to be almost fully absorbed. Continue with this process till rice is no longer crunchy and the rice is nice and creamy.
Remove from the heat and add the mozzarella cheese combining well. Add the basil leaves and tomatoes folding them gently into the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.